Honoring John Vasconcellos

On May 24, 2014, John Vasconcellos passed away at the age of 82. This is probably not a name you know. However, thousands of college students (past, present and in the future) in the state of California have and will benefit from his work. John Vasconcello was a retired politician from California. He represented the Silicon Valley for 30 years in the California State Assembly and eight years in the California State Senate.

During John Vasconcellos time in the California State Assembly and Senate, he was instrumental in many educational reforms. The legislation that I feel was the most important was the creation of the Cal Grant Program. The Cal Grant program has helped many students, most of which come from lower-income families, attend college. Without the help of the Cal Grant, many students would not have been able to go to college!

Representative Barbara Lee honored Vasconcello in 2005 by saying, “His commitment to education is demonstrated not only by his creation of the Cal Grant Program 25 years ago, which now serves over 60,000 students each year, but also by his advocacy of the personal and academic development of all children, as evidenced by his creation of the California Task Force to Promote Self Esteem and Personal Social Responsibility.”

Today I honor John Vaconcellos for his work. Not only did he help thousands of students, he helped me. I was one of those students that received the Cal Grant for my undergraduate education. Without the help of the Cal Grant, I may not have been able to attend and graduate college. In addition, without my own college experience, I would have never found my love for helping others achieve their educational goals. Thank you John Vaconcellos for your dedication to higher education and education in general.

Rest in peace John Vaconcellos.


Above photo credit: "John Vasconcellos" by Joi Ito using cc by 2.0 - Text added to original.

Scholarship Saturday – May 24, 2014

The deadlines for the scholarships that were on this list have passed. To see scholarships that are still accepting applications, visit more recent Scholarship Saturday posts.

Admissions Tip: Don’t Use An Inappropriate Email Address

When I attended my first college fair as an Admission Counselor, I was shocked at some of the email addresses students used on the inquiry cards. As the night went on, more inappropriate email addresses were coming. Surely the students were giving fake email addresses, right?

As I sent emails to the students I met at the college fair, I wasn’t getting error messages back like I thought I would. And then the first response came back from one of the inappropriate email addresses. He was actually interested in the university and had questions about admission. The email was well written and the student had legitimate questions.

As an Admission Counselor, that first impression of the student stayed with me. Every time the student’s name was mentioned or he called, the first thing that popped in my head was his email address. I couldn’t help it; the inappropriate email made a lasting impression on me.

A few months later, the student applied for admission using the same inappropriate email. Not only was the student an excellent writer, he had outstanding grades and impressive test scores. It was easy to admit him to the university, but that’s because I was at a university that didn’t have a 5% acceptance rate. How would his email address affect his decision at a college that did have a low acceptance rate? No one knows for sure, but in a place that can only accept a small percentage of students, everything can come into play, including email addresses.

So, before you start communicating with colleges, think about your email. Like it or not, your email address says something about you and you want to make sure your email address is making a good impression.

To be safe, stay away from using email addresses referring to:

  • Alcohol and drinking
  • Smoking
  • Drug
  • Sex

As an Admission Counselor and Admission Director, I saw numerous emails using the above themes. That’s right, not just one, but MANY!

Your safest bet when creating an email address for college (and job) correspondence is to use your name. It is professional and won’t be seen as inappropriate or funny. When using an appropriate email address, you’ll be sure to be taken serious.

Don’t Let “Text Type” Take Over Your Writing

Text Type

Last week I traveled to Southern California to visit with family and friends. While there, I ran into some of my high school friends who now have children in high school themselves. These friends did not have the opportunity to go to college themselves, so they had a lot of questions about the college admissions process. Instead of telling the parents everything, I gave them my business card and told them that their students could call or email me with their questions.

A few days after running into my friends, I received the following email from one of the students:

so my mom gave me your card and told me to email you.
i want to go to colege what should i do. thx for your help.

Do you see any problems with this email? I do.

  • No capitalization.
  • Misspelled word.
  • Run-on sentence.
  • Assumed I knew what he wanted.
  • Wrong punctuation.
  • Abbreviation/Text-type used for the word thanks.

I forgot to mention that the student also did not include his name and he had a questionable email address.

Some would say that the above email was very informal because the student knows me. I actually don’t know him. Others would say it was informal because the student knew nothing was at stake while emailing me. That may be true, but would it surprise you that I used to receive emails like this from students when I worked in admissions at a few different universities?

Like it or not, every interaction that you have with the Admissions Office at colleges you are considering can make a lasting impression. I started working in higher education about ten years ago and I still remember some of my first in-person interactions, emails and admissions essays – the good and the bad. As the one making the decision on admissions applications, some of those impressions came into play when making a decision on an application.

I know that many of us have become lazy in the age of texting. However, that is not an excuse to write informal and grammatically incorrect messages to anyone. Start today changing your writing habits. You never know who may be reading your message and the influence they may have in the future.

It’s Not Too Late To Apply!

It's Not Too Late

Did you miss out on paying the deposit at the college of your choice and now the college doesn’t have a spot for you?
Were you not accepted to the college(s) of your choice?
Did your plans change?

Whatever the reason, there are still many colleges throughout the country that are accepting applications for Fall 2014 according to the NACAC College Openings Update. I have compiled a list of the colleges in California that are still accepting applications for your convenience. Each link will take you to the admissions website. Don’t take too long to apply because we don’t know how long spaces will be available at each college.

If you have any questions while you are applying to any of the above college, contact me.

What college you will call home this Fall?